Black Label Society
w/ Corrosion of Conformity, Eye Hate God
January 20, 2017
Atlanta, GA – Center Stage Theater

Review by Eric Layton

Zakk Wylde and his Doomriders rolled into a sold out crowd at Center Stage in Atlanta on Saturday night. The good old boys from North Carolina,Corrosion of Conformity and Nola’s own Eye Hate God were along for support.When I got to the venue, the line wrapped around the building and I felt like I might have been at a bike rally!

First up, the legendary Eye Hate God.I have never seen an opening act less entertaining than these guys.During the set, I began to question if I was actually watching the real band and wondered if maybe some of the ever present homeless of Peachtree Street had wandered in and started playing; they looked that rough. The lead singer continuously launched snot rockets at the photographers in the camera pit, and mused,”It’s cold and flu season, bundle up!” For an opening act, they really did not warm the crowd up. In looking around the room, no one was even casually nodding their heads to the music; instead, most were checking their phones – looking for anything to do but having to watch them. I kinda felt bad, as the band could tell too, saying, “don’t worry, we will be out your hair soon.” Finally, mercifully, the end of the longest 40 minutes I have ever sat through arrived.After the set I questioned myself; maybe I was wrong and was missing out on something?But as I went into the bathroom I heard a guy puking his guts out, and that was all the confirmation I needed to know that he had just watched the same thing I did!

During the intermission, I heard some of the guys around of me talking about COC. One guy said he had been waiting 25 years to see them, and couldn’t wait.  Growing up in NC, I was spoiled by having the ability to see them more frequently, but probably didn’t appreciate it like I should have. Pepper and crew hit the stage to a thunderous reception, and returned the energy in kind by playing a perfect set.These guys were on fire, not a lot of frills, but kicked our asses for almost an hour. They played a few songs off the new album “No Cross No Crown”,and a great mix of songs spanning their career. “Vote with a Bullet” was written over 20 years ago, and like they said, they were bringing it full circle. “Broken Man”, “Albatross”, and the show closer“Clean My Wounds” were some of the highlights. I remembered it had been over 20 years since I had seen them at a small club in MyrtleBeach,SC, sometime around 1993 or 1994. My Mom dropped me off at The AfterDeck, and I had to walk 2 miles back to the room. After the performance I witnessed Saturday, I’d walk a lot further than that to see them again.

A large curtain displaying the Black Label Society logo went up,and the stage crew went to work setting up for Zakk and his crew. These guys worked feverishly to get everything just right. The lights went down and the crowd went nuts! Zakk came out to “Genocide Junkies”, and rolled into “Funeral Bell”. It was a great set and overall great performance. They had cancelled four shows earlier in the week due to Zakk being under the weather, but he plowed through all the hits like “Stillborn”, “In This River”, and “The Blessed Hellride”, and he never missed a beat. Great performance, and a definite crowd favorite.

Now comes the part where I have some Shit To Say, so read ahead with caution. Concerts are a lot like real estate. It’s about location, location, location. I was there early, got a great spot on the rail, and was ready to enjoy the show. I have met so many cool people and great friends at shows, many of them right here at Center Stage,but that was far from the case tonight. By the time BLS took the stage I was in one the biggest pockets of stupid I have ever been in. To my left was a guy Facetiming his wife video of him watching the concert; not the band, mind you, but just him watching the band. Then there was the true mouthbreather who kept yelling “Albatross” from the start of COC’s set till the end (well exceptfor when they actually played it which was while he was out buying more drinks). Then there was Mr.Limp Bizcut, who had to jump and wave his arm like a rapper to the last few words of every chorus. DidI mention he was a vape boy as well???To the right,a couple had migrated up front and could have been some of the most annoying people I have ever been around. The girl continued to try to get to the stage during the transition, while yelling “Come on Zakk!” And the guy would yell,“Yes Sir!” everytime a guitar tech would walk by – with or without a guitar. Then it happened…. the revelation to end all revelations:

Girl:”Dem are Zakk’s speekers. Dey got a Dubba-ya on em.”

Guy: “Yes Sir!”

Having said all of that, these folks really detracted from my experience.I didn’t feel I should have to move, I did my due diligence to get to the venue early and got the spot I wanted. But eventually I did move, as they were so distracting I could not enjoy the show.  I understand that we are not all alike, and what makes you happy I may find annoying as shit. All I ask is just don’t be a dick and be aware of your surroundings and fellow concertgoers. We are all there for the same thing – to enjoy great music, so be cool to one another!

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